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business class award travel upgrades…for actual business?
I am a contractor based in LAX and I have clients in europe (usually Berlin, Zürich, Copenhagen)
Usually the contracts require reimbursement of economy airfare (or up to equivalent value) and then I put unreimbursed expenses on schedule C
These are expensive routes to fly, I can’t afford to pay $6-10k out of pocket for business class. Also using miles for [I]business[/I] instead of [I]personal[/I] travel, I think I can’t get reimbursements OR deductions (which add up to a lot). Also pretty sure I would burn through miles fast (I mostly have MR right now)
Surely other folks are in the same situation? What is the situation like for award upgrades? (buying reimbursable economy and upgrading with miles) is it possible to stretch miles a lot further and/or get better availability?
That is a tough one. Much will depend on the fare class of your tickets, I suspect. Keep in mind, if you buy an economy ticket and upgrade, you still earn miles (albiet at a lower rate). I cant speak for the other alliances, but in the case of AA and One World, what you can do is book in Y or W (fully fare economy and PE). What that should do is eliminate any upgrade fees. (This is per an AA ticket agent in December) Yes, you’ll burn miles, but not cash. To help with the miles part, have a look here on OMAAT at the various credit card strategies to help pad your mileage balance.
Upgrade availability is another kettle of fish. AA have become quite stingy on their own metal unless you book well in advance. I have found if I can book a couple months in advance, my upgrades have a decent shot of being cleared. Much closer than that to flight time and they dry up (depending on routing).